Big Quilcene River (Above Hatchery) for Trout

Everyone seems to think of this river for salmon, chasing fish returning to the hatchery. This fishing is pretty much combat fishing, that IMO brings out the worst in fishing. The topic of this report is trout in the river above the hatchery, but below the Falls Reach waterfall.
We arrived at the river around noon. Experience has shown that "crack of dawn", early morning fishing on most Olympic rivers is a waste of time. Unless the sun is directly on the water early in the morning (rare in these tree laden canyons), the insects will not start emerging until the sun hits the water, so fish are usually waiting for these events. The water temperature was 48 degrees, cold for this time of year. The water was clear and the weather was clear blue cloudless skies. In checking the river for insects, there were PMDs and more interesting to me was the caddis (tan size 16) in the air. I shook an overhanging branch and there were plenty of caddis there, so I used a tan size 16 elkhair caddis. There aren't that many places where you can access the river, but after parking and gearing up, we were on the river. The fish were interested. We caught fish pretty constantly. In the early afternoon, when the sun directly shown on the river, fishing improved. I saw what appeared to be an October caddis in the air, so I decided to try one of those imitations and see what happened. The fish went nuts! We caught many fish. I caught somewhere near 40 fish (all were released). The only negative was the size of the fish. The rainbows were between 5 and nearly 10 inches, with most being around 6 inches. These are all naturally spawning fish (the state stopped stocking this stretch of water around 1992), and with the amount of insects I saw on the water seem like they would support larger fish. This is consistent with my results on other Hood Canal rivers...
It was a nice trip, with many smallish fish. The rivers seem to have plenty of insect life, but the fish are still relatively small...

Tight lines...

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
Rick, nice report. I was just discussing this river and a few others along the HC with the family. We are thining a hike in the wooded shade tomorrow. Each option under consideration has a river running along the trails. Maybe this one will get a few more points from my vote. Small water, small fish, light lines. Thanks.
If you are talking about hiking and fishing along various rivers, be aware that most of the Hood Canal rivers closed for fishing on 8/31/2011 until next year. This is a relatively new change to the season to attempt to save more of the juvenile salmon and steelhead. Trout fishing is pretty much done in most rivers along the Hood Canal for this year...



"Just Fish!"
The Big Quil from hatchery to upper boundry of Falls View Campground is open First Sat in June - Oct 31st.... Great place to try out your bamboo or glass rods. Don't bring anything bigger than a 3wt IMHO.